Au Lecteur

“Blow your MIND” Tomato Basil Pasta!

Posted in Food by aulecteur on September 5, 2013

My friend Crystal shared this on her Facebook. I save recipes by pinning so I have to blog this to pin it. It’s a complicated system but it works.


“Blow your MIND” Tomato Basil Pasta! – No Straining, just Stirring

Pasta, Tomatoes, Veggie Broth, Olive Oil, and Seasonings (details below)

Throw it all in the pot, INCLUDING the uncooked Pasta, and cook! – Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The starch leaches out of the pasta and makes a rich, warm sauce for the noodles. The other ingredients cook right along with the pasta

12 ounces pasta (I used Linguine)
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid ( I used zesty red pepper flavor)
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (regular broth and NOT low sodium)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish


Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired .

Season to taste with salt and pepper , stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.

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Holiday Hit List: Brenda’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

Posted in Food, To Do List by aulecteur on January 4, 2013

This is Brenda’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. I don’t care for cream soups so omit the cream and it’s just fine and dandy like sour candy. I can’t wait to have this soup at lunch this winter.

This batch is part of my Holiday Hit List!

1 oz butter
1 small onion
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 ¾ cup chicken stock
1 lb mushrooms
5 oz (5/8th cup) 35% cream

Quantities to triple the recipe. It’s a good soup. People want to make a lot.
3 oz
1 large
9 tbsp
1 tsp
¾ tsp
¾ tsp
1/4 tsp
9 cups water + 3 jiggers of Bovril
1 ½ lb white + 16 oz Baby Bella
½ cup 35% cream, ½ cup 1%milk + 1/2 c flour

Melt butter, fry finely chopped onions till translucent. Remove from heat,
stir in flour, salt, pepper, oregano and cayenne pepper to make a smooth

Gradually stir in stock. Stir in mushrooms.

Return to heat, to boil. Stir constantly. Reduce to low. Simmer 30 minutes.

Remove mushrooms and puree with immersion blender. Stir in cream. Add ½
tsp lemon juice and ½ tsp white wine vinegar.


Soup can be made ahead to just before cream addition.

Holiday Hit List: Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Posted in Food, To Do List by aulecteur on January 3, 2013

I have a Holiday Hit List – things to do over the holidays. Now that the chaos of Christmas is behind me, I’m getting to it. On the list is preparing quick grab meals for the winter. I’m making two soups and a bunch of freezer burritos. The first soup is Mom’s Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, originally from It’s All About Food apparently. Credit where credit is due.

I ruined this soup when I first made it. I figure I burned the spices during the toasting step. So watch out if attempting. It’s a truly rewarding endeavor. It’s a tasty tasty soup.

EDIT: I attempted the soup again and it turned out splendidly. Really watch the spices; do that step on low heat, maybe even off the burner completely. The picture is from the successful second attempt.

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4

Cooked squash is much easier to peel than raw squash. If you don’t have time to roast
it, cut it in half, place both halves on a plate or baking dish, and cover them with plastic
wrap. Pop them in the microwave for about 10 minutes, then peel them with your fingers
once they are cool enough to handle.

1 medium butternut or acorn squash
1-2 Tbsp. (15-30 mL) canola or olive oil or butter
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) curry powder or paste, or to taste
1 tart apple, chopped (Granny Smith)
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups (750 mL) chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup (250 mL) milk, evaporated milk, half and half or 35% cream (optional)
Salt and pepper
1-2 Tbsp pure Maple Syrup

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place it cut side down in a
roasting pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake for 40-45 minutes or
until very tender. Set aside until it’s cool enough to handle. (You can cook the squash up
to 2 days in advance; keep it covered in the fridge until you need it or freeze it for a later

Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat and sauté the onion until soft.
Add the curry paste, apple, ginger and garlic and cook for a few more minutes, until the
apples start to soften. Peel the skin off the cooked squash using a vegetable peeler or your
fingers, and cut it into chunks. Add it to the soup with the stock and bring it to a simmer.
Reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes.

Purée the soup in a blender, or use a hand-held immersion blender to purée it right in the
pot until it’s as chunky or as smooth as you like. Return the soup to the stovetop, add the
milk or cream (if using), season with salt and pepper, and stir until it’s heated through.
Make sure you don’t boil it at this point, or the milk may curdle. Finish with the maple
syrup before serving.

From It’s about Food (via my mom)

Mastering Quinoa (the power grain)

Posted in Food by aulecteur on April 14, 2012

This week I finally managed to cook a grain successfully!

I’m historically notoriously horrible at cooking rice, barley, lentils, quinoa, you name it. Grains. What the heck? But magic happened this week when I was determined to add this power food to my weekly menu. There’s so much you can do with quinoa.

To prep the quinoa, I toasted it in a frying pan over medium heat. About 5 minutes until it looks toasted, smells nutty, and starts to pop. These are all good signs it’s time to transfer to the pot. Toasting brings out the nutty flavour and takes away any bitterness when you cook it.

I used a flexible cutting board to funnel the toasted grains into a small pot of water. Use the 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa.

Bring the pot of water and quinoa to a boil then reduce to simmer. Cover and let it do its thing for 15 minutes. I peeked twice.

After 15 minutes or when the water is absorbed, removed the pot from heat and it let stand covered for 5 mins. You know it’s done because the ring around the grain is broken. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!

Perfect successful quinoa. I’m going to make quinoa veggie salad with the leftovers. And maybe quinoa porridge. So versatile! So happy to have mastered cooking quinoa!

Next, rice. I’d especially like to figure out how to make sushi rice, and just enough for one roll at a time. Perfect for lunches.

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